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  • Pros and Cons of Ulnar Osteotomy

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    Old 04-25-2016, 05:58 AM   #1
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    Magnolia2016 HB User
    Pros and Cons of Ulnar Osteotomy

    I need to hear the good and bad of ulnar shortening. Finally in a round about way I met with an orthopedic surgeon about pain in my left wrist. I've had this pain on and off for as many years as i can remember. Only the last year or so it has flared up and refuses to settle down. After my CTR on my left hand, it became worse. I am right handed but this is my left side where I have always been stronger. I am 36 yo and I clean houses. I have noticed that as time goes on the pain and range of motion is only getting worse. The dr is already said I need the surgery. And I haven't even gotten the MRI done yet to see if there is more. The xrays he took showed my ulna is not only too long but actually longer than the radius.I am trying to get as much input as I can. I'm worried about not being able to work much longer if I do not get it done, but what if I get it done, will I be able to continue my business? Anyone, I welcome your input and advice and your own personal experiences.

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    Old 04-25-2016, 07:20 AM   #2
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    Re: Pros and Cons of Ulnar Osteotomy

    It takes a while for the healing process, and is quite painful. BUT. I believe that I did benefit from mine. I have past posts about my experiences during my ulnar shortening recovery, if you'd like to go look at them. I still have my plate in, but I will need it removed. My bones are quite small, so the plate is causing me pain, but the plate can stay in if it's not causing any pain or problems.

    To me-
    Pros: 1. I have a central tear in my TFCC, I'm not in (as much) pain anymore since the surgery.
    2. I was able to go through physical therapy and strengthen my arm and shoulder without too much pain, as before the surgery I was in too much pain to even attempt that.

    Cons: 1. The plate is pretty painful. (The plate isn't painful for everyone).
    2. The recovery time is pretty long. But remember- they are essentially breaking your bone, and you have a plate and screws in your arm now.
    3. Casts suck, but are completely necessary, since they are "breaking" your bone.

    But keep in mind, my "cons" aren't necessarily "cons", just things I found tedious. The recovery/surgery is different for everyone, and it also depends on how much of your bone they take. They took 3mm from mine.
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    Magnolia2016 (04-26-2016)
    Old 05-15-2016, 12:22 PM   #3
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    Re: Pros and Cons of Ulnar Osteotomy

    I just had surgery on the 22nd of April. So far worst part is the cast. And that's the only bad part for me. It doesn't hurt, just annoying. I was never in pain from day one of surgery, only took pain pills for two days as a precaution.

    Don't know how effective you'd be cleaning with a cast, however lots of docs treat this differently. My doc is 2 weeks plaster cast , 4 weeks fiberglass, then rehab. Some just give you a splint, a full arm cast, it really varies so find out what his recovery process and timeline is like and if you'll feel comfortable working with that cast. It really is cumbersome toe but thus far I have zero regrets about the surgery. I can drive and do MOST things.
    However I have a desk job so this surgery affects me less than most people. All its really done thus far is make me type one handed, drive for the most part one handed, not open really tight things on my own (think tightening my own water bottle, I probably could do it on my own but I'm devoted to letting this heal quicker than anyone ever).

    My ulna was waaayyyy up there. Basically it was touching all the bones it possibly could in my hand, where there should be a gap instead. They brought it down 3mm, IMO it should've been more but my name isn't Dr Alfrs.

    Old 05-15-2016, 06:17 PM   #4
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    Re: Pros and Cons of Ulnar Osteotomy

    Ultimately, the question is if having been through the surgery, would we choose to do it again. In my case, absolutely!

    I had 4 mm removed with my osteotomy. I had splint for 2 weeks, then casts for 4, then PT. While the cast wasn't my favorite, I was still able to do some light things with that hand while healing once the fiberglass one went on. Driving, stabilizing things, etc...

    I did hit a point where my rehab stalled due to plate issues though. Once the plate was removed (quite an easy recovery with no splint needed), I was able to regain my 'normal' and quickly became pain free for the first time in over 2 years.

    Your biggest con would probably be the recovery while working. My surgery was on my dominate hand and there were things I just couldn't do. Since this would be on your non-dominate hand, you could monitor how much you use it daily to help figure out the impact on your work. I will say, you will need to keep it elevated in the early days post-surgery and wouldn't want to work then.

    Compared to other surgeries, I did find this one to be less painful. Ice is definitely a friend.
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